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Wadena men survive cold plunge into Buchanan Lake

It was 9 p.m. on Feb. 12 when Dave Line and his friend, Derek Olson, were forced to take a cold plunge into Buchanan Lake.

The two Wadena men were driving from the north end of the 963-acre Otter Tail County Lake to a new fishing spot on the south side, pulling their fish house behind Olson's Chrysler mini-van. According to Line, they had encountered an unseen pressure ridge. They heard the ice cracking and the vehicle went into water and began to sink.

Line jumped out immediately and swam to safe ice eight feet away but Olson had to break a back window with a portable auger to escape because he could not open any of the doors.

Once they were both back on the ice, Line said they hiked 300 yards to the home of a Buchanan Lake resident where they changed into dry clothing and called for help.

Olson's vehicle sank into in 15 feet of water less than a minute after going through the thin ice.

The van was removed from the lake with the help of divers from Detroit Lakes and taken to a salvage yard in Avon.

An unseasonably warm winter has created a myriad of problems for ice anglers all over the state this winter.

Permanent fishing shelters must be removed from area lakes no later than March 5 according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Olson has done a lot of winter angling and has driven on lake ice safely many times. Having had the experience of going through the ice once, his advice to anyone driving on a lake is simple and to the point.

"Be ready at all times,"

Olson said.